A woman reportedly used a knife Saturday to open packages of cell phones in a local store so that she could shoplift them, while another shoplifter says he returned the items he had taken.
Officer Lynn McCulley reported Saturday that she went to Kmart on South Virginia Avenue in reference to the shoplifter. When she arrived on the scene, she noticed two black males outside the entrance talking to a white male who matched the description of the subject given out by loss prevention.
She made contact with loss prevention and another employee who were trying to get the suspect back inside the store. The offender, Lee James Lassetter, 22, of Chula, was being very uncooperative and began to try to walk away. McCulley reported that she grabbed his left arm and told him to go inside. She said Lassetter kept saying not to touch him and began to try and pull away. She told him to get on the ground and he began to fight. They struggled and Lassetter was able to push McCulley on the ground and break away.
McCulley reported that she got up and began to chase Lassetter and soon Sgt. Dorminey McCrae was also on the scene. Lassetter ran across the Kmart parking lot, down through a ditch and across the next lot toward the back of Golden Corral.
He attempted to jump the small fence that separates the back of the restaurant from the parking lot behind the building of the Yellow Monkey yogurt shop.
McCrae pulled into the parking lot and was able to get to Lassetter as he was trying to jump the fence. At that time, he grabbed the offender around the chest and McCulley grabbed his waist. McCrae was able to get Lassetter secured on the ground while McCulley placed handcuffs on him.
After the arrest, McCulley reported that they were able to locate the knife that was being used by Lassetter to cut open merchandise, as well as four stolen cell phones. After all of the stolen items were recovered, Lassetter was transported to the Tift County Jail. He’s being charged with theft by shoplifting and obstruction of an officer with force. He was also issued a ban notice from Kmart at the request of Kmart loss prevention.
Another man was arrested Saturday for shoplifting at Dollar General on North Tift Avenue. Sgt. Terry Allen reported that he was sent to the store in reference to a shoplifter who had gotten away from employees. The description given of the suspect was a black male wearing all black with a black ski cap. The 911 Center said the suspect was running down Tift Avenue and later said that he was running toward a school in the area.
Allen later made contact with the offender, Earl Farley, 50, of Sylvester, on Prince Avenue. When Allen asked him what was going on, Farley said he was shoplifting but gave all of the items back. He was arrested at that time, and the complainant verified that he was the individual who was at the store.
The complainant reported that he saw a black female in the store who he had previously seen with two black males in the store shoplifting. He made contact with the woman and told her that she and the two males were not allowed back in the store. He said after talking to her, he saw one of the males (Farley) who was with her and made contact with him, asking if he had anything. The complainant reported that Farley admitted to having something and pulled two items from the front inside of his pants.
He asked Farley to follow him to the office but he went to the break room. Once in the break room, he called 911 and Farley took several more items from his coat pockets. The complainant said while he was talking to 911, Farley became angry and tried to push pass him by placing both of his hands in his chest. He said when Farley realized that he was not moving, he turned and went out the emergency exit. The complainant gave chase while staying on the phone with 911.
A witness said he was asked by the complainant to accompany him to the break room. He said while in the break room, he saw Farley pull items from his coat pockets and push the complainant before going out the emergency exit. Farley was charged with theft by shoplifting and simple battery.
In other unrelated cases:
• Officer Brian Shockley reported Dec. 25 that he was sent to a residence located in the 200 block of Prince Avenue in reference to a new Chevrolet Camaro sitting in the driveway.
The complainant reported law enforcement had been looking for the vehicle earlier and that a white male and female were inside smoking drugs. When Shockley later made contact with the subjects on the scene, along with other officers, he asked them to step out of the vehicle. He asked the two subjects if they had been using any kind of drugs or if there were any drugs on either of them or in the vehicle.
Shockley reported the male, Michael Shane Turnmire, 38, of Tifton, said no. He said Turnmire consented to him searching the vehicle. During his search, he located one white rock-like substance lying on the rear passenger side seat that he believed to be crack cocaine. He then exited the vehicle and arrested Turnmire.
The female, Jeanie Marie Luke, 38, of Columbus, was also arrested.
Shockley asked both of the offenders who the cocaine belonged to. Turnmire said it was not his and that he had no idea the cocaine was in the vehicle. Luke also said the cocaine was not hers and that she doesn’t use crack. Instead, she told police she uses meth and had already used what she had.
Shockley reported that neither offender would claim possession of the substance, so both of them were charged with possession of a controlled substance due to the proximity and ease of access to the substance believed to be crack cocaine. Luke was also charged with giving of false information. When an officer asked her for her name and date of birth, she gave another name and date.
She and Turnmire were taken to the Tift County Jail. The Camaro belonged to a Fitzgerald man who arrived on the scene and took possession of the vehicle.
• Officer Anthony Hughes reported Dec. 24 that he made contact with Craig Tyrone Webb, 53, of Tifton at a residence located in the 200 block of Davis Street in reference to him removing some property from the location. He could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. He asked Webb if he had been drinking, to which he replied he had consumed one beer.
Hughes said he told Webb to wait at his vehicle while he made contact with the homeowner and to call someone to come and get him. As he walked up to the home, Webb got into his 1988 Chevrolet truck and drove off. Knowing where Webb resides, Hughes went to the 1300 block of South Park Avenue and found his vehicle in the yard with the driver’s door open.
He could see Webb walking toward Daniel Lane. He told Webb to stop and he took off back toward South Park Avenue. Hughes then went back to South Park Avenue, exited his vehicle and started walking and looking for Webb.
Another officer on the scene checked Webb’s vehicle and found a cold 18-ounce bottle of Budweiser beer that was open. They began searching for Webb in some nearby woods, where he was found hiding. When asked by Hughes why he ran from him, Webb said he didn’t want to get into trouble. Webb was arrested and taken to the Tift County Jail, where he was released on a copy of charges due to a medical condition. He was charged with obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers without force and an open container violation.
• A man reported Friday that someone stole a 3-ton air conditioning unit from his rental property located in the 300 block of Elm Street. He reported he had been out of town.
• A man reported Dec. 23 that someone stole an air conditioning unit from the American Legion building on West 17th Street. He also reported the power meter was missing from the meter base.
• A man reported Friday someone entered the gated area on Old Omega Road and removed a large pile of scrap metal. He reported the gate was found unsecured that morning, and it appeared to have been left that way inadvertently as the lock was still intact and not damaged. The man was unsure what was left in the scrap pile, nor of its value.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.